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Travel Nurse Interview

30 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion

Updated December 5th, 2018 | Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.
Question 1 of 30
Where do you see yourself in five years?
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How to Answer
There's really no right answer to this question, but the interviewer wants to know that you're ambitious, career-oriented, and committed to a future with the hospital. So instead of sharing your dream for early retirement, or trying to be funny, give them an answer that illustrates your drive and commitment.
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Top 30 Travel Nurse Interview Questions
Where do you see yourself in five years?
There's really no right answer to this question, but the interviewer wants to know that you're ambitious, career-oriented, and committed to a future with the hospital. So instead of sharing your dream for early retirement, or trying to be funny, give them an answer that illustrates your drive and commitment.

Darby's Answer #1
"In five years I'd like to have an even better understanding of the travel nurse industry. I really love working with people and helping them realize their dreams. Ultimately, I'd like to be in some type of recruitment and management role in travel nursing, where I can use my people skills and nursing knowledge to benefit the nurses working with me in this industry."
Darby's Answer #2
"I really want to focus on my career and possibly gain some more certifications that will make me a more valuable asset to the team I am working with."
What is something you learned from your previous boss?
Remember: if you get the job, the person interviewing you may one day be your previous boss. The last thing they want is to hire someone who they know is going to badmouth them some day. Instead of focusing on any negative incident, try to think about any positive thing you learned from your previous boss or a way that you say him positively impact things at work.

Darby's Answer #1
"My last boss taught me the importance of time management. He didn't pull any punches, and was extremely deadline-driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder, and manage my case loads way more efficiently."
Darby's Answer #2
"My previous employer was a very kind-hearted person. Even when things seemed stressful at work or we had a really hectic day, she always seemed to keep her cool. Her attitude set the pace for our whole team."
What motivates you to do a good job?
This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So don't give a vague, generic response - it tells them very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character, and use examples where possible.

Darby's Answer #1
"I've always been motivated by the challenge of a tough patient. In my last role, I came across a particular patient who refused a handful of nurses before he was assigned to me. I was able to find something we had in common, which calmed him down. After the patient saw me make an effort to better understand his situation, he became much more agreeable to my aid. I love facing and overcoming challenges on such a personal level."
Darby's Answer #2
"The feeling of knowing that I have the chance to improve the quality of life
For someone really motivates me. There is just something about knowing that I can have a small part in the life of someone who is trusting me to care for them."
Salary is often commensurate with experience. How do you feel about someone with more experience than you having a higher salary but doing the same job?
Most employers do offer higher salary incentives to get more seasoned employees. This is not meant to devalue a person's knowledge or experience, but rather paying for more experience. It is important to note that the interviewer is not saying you will definitely make less than someone with more experience. Many times this question is to see how you respond and how badly you want a position. If an employee is willing to put in the work and earn the pay increase, employers often see them as someone worth investing in. This is a good time to ask what the beginning salary is and discuss options that are negotiable such as benefits and paid time off.

Darby's Answer #1
"I realize that salaries are often determined by the amount of experience an applicant has. I appreciate the fact that employers recognize experience as a factor in determining pay and am willing to show that I am worthy."
Darby's Answer #2
"I don't have a problem with someone who has more experience than me making a higher salary. I respect the experience that others have and know that I will have to prove myself."
Some travel nurses are assigned to well-child clinics. Have you ever done wellness exams or given immunizations to pediatric patients?
Depending on the services a facility provides, some pediatric nurses may be expected to assist with well child exams and/or give immunizations. While every skill you are asked about in an interview may not be a mandatory skill for employment, the interviewer will be able to compare your experience and skills with all possible openings.

Darby's Answer #1
"I used to work in a health unit and one of my primary jobs was to well-child exams and health screenings and to give immunizations to pediatric patients."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have always worked the pediatric unit in a hospital setting. So far, I have not had experience with working with well-child care and screenings or immunization administration."
What would you describe as your biggest weakness?
This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job.

Darby's Answer #1
"I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that I can get sidetracked easily. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to plan my day as much as possible and to stay on target."
Darby's Answer #2
"One of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it has become something that I am aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."
Can you recall a time when you had a disagreement with a co-worker or boss? If so, how was it resolved?
Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe if we think about it, each of us could remember at least one disagreement with a friend or co-worker. Although I consider myself to be pretty easy-going, I am also very passionate about my patients and the care that they receive. I have been aware of disagreements between other co-workers, but really like to think of myself as more of a peacekeeper. I feel like professional people should be able to discuss things logically and come to an agreement that is satisfactory for everyone involved."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am a pretty easy-going person and do my best to avoid conflict. Like anyone else, I am sure there have been times that a co-worker and I have had a difference of opinion, but there has never been an instance that the disagreement was something that would have interfere with my work."
Do you feel like you have strong relationship building skills? Building strong relationships is essential for success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship building skills.
Building strong relationships is essential for success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship building skills.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have often been complimented on my relationship building skills. I like to get to know people and ask them questions about themselves; I find it's a great and simple way to start building rapport with others. I consider myself to be a strong relationship builder and take pride in my 'people skills.'"
Darby's Answer #2
"I do feel like I have good relationship building skills. I like people and enjoy getting to know them."
Do you have experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds?
In an industry as large as healthcare, diversity among peers is inevitable. To be successful, it is crucial to learn how to work with a diverse group of people. Some people are intimidated when faced with learning new cultures and beliefs, but in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to provide effective care. The interviewer wants to know that you are open to meeting and learning about new people and becoming an integral part of the team. Be positive with your response.

Darby's Answer #1
"The diversity of specialty areas is something I love about the healthcare field. I like the idea of being in a career that challenges me to learn and grow. I believe we all have something that we can contribute to others and I like to embrace the diversity among those that I work with."
Darby's Answer #2
"Experienced: "Yes, I have worked with people from diverse backgrounds. I think one of the great things about the healthcare industry is that we have people from all backgrounds and walks of life who come together with the common interest of caring for others. I try to take advantage of opportunities to meet people and learn about them as much as possible."
How do you prioritize when multiple patients and procedures demand your attention at once?
Working in any patient unit or clinic comes with times where the patient load is crazy. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that things run smoothly. Try to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at one time, how you handled the situation and what the outcome was.

Darby's Answer #1
"During busy times, I always remember that the needs of the patient come first so my triage skills come into use to prioritize which patients should be seen first. Exercising good communication between myself, the physicians and my patients is extremely important. Once I have established a good line of communication, I remember toI stay calm and handle patients with quality care one at a time."
Darby's Answer #2
"During my clinical rotation in an Urgent Care clinic, we had a very busy day where many patients were coming in due to widespread flu. In working with my preceptor, I learned how to communicate to patients. His calmness in handling the situation was inspiring. Also, personally, during my final year of coursework in college, I was taking 18 credits each semester. During these semesters, I had to learn to prioritize my classwork by due dates and order of importance. By utilizing checklists and working through each thing one at a time, I learned invaluable skills that I can bring to my nursing career."
What about your work feeds your spirit?
This question will give the interviewer an inside look at how you think and what motivates you. This is an opportunity to let the interviewer see inside you, not just watch perform a task. Be open. If you can recall a specific event that happened while working that made you happy or feel fulfilled, share it.

Darby's Answer #1
"Every day that I go to work, I realize how amazing children really are. I look into the eyes of the children I care for and realize that I have been blessed with an incredible job and career."
Darby's Answer #2
"To be able to care for a child during a time that is so stressful and to be able to touch the lives of others in some small way is meaningful beyond words. When a parent looks me in the eye, gives me a hug, and thanks me for making a difference in the life of their child, the feeling is remarkable."
How do you handle stressful situations?
Stress management will be essential for you to be able to handle tight deadlines, long hours and demanding patients. Before answering this question, think of some tools that have helped you manage your stress. What will you do when you can't take a break when you need it? How will you stay calm when dealing with those challenging personalities? Share any helpful techniques that you use every day to remain clear-headed in some of the most stressful scenarios.

Darby's Answer #1
"I've learned not to take words or actions of stressed patients personally. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a deadline and being pulled in too many directions, I can ground myself knowing that I'm providing the best customer service and caring for my patients the best way that I can."
Darby's Answer #2
"When I am under pressure on the job, I try to focus on the job at hand. I like to make lists and prioritize activities that I need to accomplish."
Have you ever considered choosing a different specialty?
Many employee candidates are unsure of how to answer this question. Most feel that if they say they may have other interests that the interviewer will not recommend them for employment. This is not necessarily the case. This is simply an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know your interests.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have never considered any specialty other than nursing. From the time I decided to go to medical school I knew I wanted to be a traveling nurse. I am happy to take classes and continue my education, perhaps for an advanced degree that may go hand in hand with current role, but I am not interested in changing my specialty."
Darby's Answer #2
"Actually, I had initially thought that I would become a xray technician. Something about nursing was just very intriguing to me and I knew I wanted to make a career in this specialty area."
When did you first decide to become a nurse, and why?
Understanding what drove you to become a nurse speaks volumes to the interviewer. The interviewer knows that you are dedicated or you wouldn't have gone to nursing school and wouldn't be willing to travel to care for others. This is a chance for the interviewer to get to know you; share your personal thoughts.

Darby's Answer #1
"I came from a family of educators, and was initially an education major in college. Through some friends, I joined a community service group and discovered how much I enjoyed helping people. During that same time period, both of my grandparents were diagnosed with cancer, and our whole family was very active in their care. My grandfather's oncologist became a close and influential role model for me during those early years. It was this combination of personal experiences, and the utility of applying science and technology to help people, which transformed my career aspirations."
Darby's Answer #2
"From the time I was in junior high school, all I could think of was growing up and becoming a nurse. My best friend's dad was a family practitioner and I remember being very young, sitting in a room and talking with him about his practice. He would always lighten up about his amazing staff, especially the nurses. He made me realize that becoming a nurse was what I wanted to be. I have always remembered him and his genuine personality, optimism, and the love he had for his nursing staff."
Why do you think nurses often report experiencing 'burn out' and what do you do to help try to prevent that?
Being a healthcare provider is a great responsibility. Unfortunately, because of the great responsibility, many providers do report experiencing the need to take a break. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling stress and that you know when to ask for help.

Darby's Answer #1
"I understand how some healthcare providers can experience burn out. It has nothing to do with wanting to change professions or leave a job. Sometimes it's just hard to lose patients or to feel like we can't save them all. I try to schedule myself some personal time, whether its a few days away when I am off work or going hiking. Anything to help create some balance in my life."
Darby's Answer #2
"I had a great mentor when I was in nursing school. She told me if I didn't remember anything else she told me, that I should always remember to take care of myself. I have grown to understand what she meant. If we are bogged down physically and emotionally, it is easy to become overwhelmed and experience feeling burned out."
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